A challenge to eminent domain by a group of Roman Catholic nuns has been defeated. Federal Judge Jeffrey Schmehl approved the use of eminent domain for a project which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Challenges, after Federal Regulatory approval via the Natural Gas Act, are regularly denied by Federal judges. Williams Company wrote in August of 2017 that construction will commence on or about September 15, 2017.

Judge grants pipeline builder possession of properties

A judge gave the builder of the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline possession of five remaining properties in Lancaster County on Wednesday, including a right of way through land owned by Roman Catholic nuns near Columbia, LancasterOnline reported.

U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Jeffrey Schmehl granted the Transcontinental Pipe Line Co.’s motion to condemn the rights of way.

The Atlantic Sunrise project is a $3 billion expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline system, which delivers about 40 percent of the natural gas consumed in Pennsylvania.

The project has drawn opposition, including from the group Lancaster

Against Pipelines, and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, who built a chapel in protest on land they own.

A spokesman for Williams Partners, which owns Transco, said that the nuns would not have to remove the chapel right away but that they will have to move it before construction begins.

The nuns’ lawsuit against against Transco and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pending, Lancaster-Online reported.

Provided by: LancasterOnline – From staff reports